Cabo de Gata
Cabo de Gata, Cape of Almeria
Both marine and terrestrial, the natural wilderness area of Cabo de Gata – Níjar Nature Park has been classified as a World Biosphere Reserve since 1997.
Located in the southeast of the Gulf of Almería in Andalusia, the Cabo de Gata Park, which has various protections: for birds, as a wetland and Ramsar site, was declared a natural park in 1987, making it the first marine and terrestrial park in Spain.
The park’s coastline, with its valuable ecosystems, is made up of high cliffs and reefs, alternating between beaches and coves, dunes and salt marshes.
As a whole, the park is home to an endemic flora of maquis and herbaceous plants. Numerous animal and aquatic species have found refuge there, such as dolphins or red scorpion fish, which, like scuba diving enthusiasts, regularly frequent these clear waters.
The Sierra de Cabo de Gata, of volcanic origin, is one of the most arid regions in Spain. A succession of craters, rocky peaks, valleys as in Rodalquilar, offers a wide variety of landscapes. The mining activity of this small town in the middle of the park has not erased the beauty of this valley.
At the south-western end of this rocky coast, we discover Las Salinas de San Miguel. The saltworks are still active and protect rich ecosystems in which many migratory birds live. According to the times, you can see flamingos, oatmeal, sandpipers, gulls and many others stopping there.
The small villages, mostly coastal, of the park can be good starting points to discover these places of wild and unspoilt beauty. The picturesque village of San José with a small bay at the bottom, the beach of El Monsul, fine sand and crystal clear waters, are among the most popular places of the rich shores of the park of Cabo Gata.
To reach the park from Almeria by road, you must take the RN-344 to Retamar and then the AL-3112 to really penetrate the interior. By bus from Almeria’s bus station with the company ALSA, which provides some daily connections to the villages of the park: San Miguel de Cabo de Gata, San José, La Isleta del Moro, Rodalquilar or Agua Amarga, even if they are not necessarily connected to each other. These small towns have some hotel facilities.
Situated 40 km from Almeria between Sierra Almahilla and Cabo Gata-Níjar Nature Park, Níjar is typical of Andalusian villages with a Muslim architectural design.
An ancient village with narrow lanes, bordered by houses with flat roofs and no floors in which you can discover an ancient craftsmanship that makes the reputation of Níjar.
The local craftsmen have been able to preserve from this Muslim period a strong tradition of craftsmanship, notably with ceramics and pottery of Berber origin, the “alfarerías”, carpets or coloured blankets, the “jarapas”.
Níjar is a small town close to and far from Almeria, quiet in the middle of a beautiful natural environment from which it is enough to cross the Cabo Gata park to reach, about twenty kilometres away, the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean coast such as the Algarrobico, the islet of Moro or the Gulf of Almeria. Or take a walk along the hiking trails to discover the Sierra Almahilla mountains.
Access: by the A7 road from Almeria.
Municipal Tourist Office of Níjar. Plaza del Mercado – Níjar.
Cabo Gata-Níjar Park Tourist Office. Avenida San José, 27 – Níjar.
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